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Look out, it's Shakley!!

Apologies to Jeff Bridges
Fillmore P. Shakley:
Without a doubt, the most evil villain I have ever created (and thankfully he is fictitious). He or his son will remain in the Allard Series until the end of BOOK EIGHT: THE CHIEF. Based on a collection of slave-catcher literature, he will stop at nothing to accomplish his goals which are ever changing to suit his needs and the circumstances. Totally self-involved, he will embrace or abandon any cause to suit his personal well-being and gain. Read More 
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Finney's Barn

Finney's Barn (after the war)
Finney’s Barn:
Those of you who have read THE MEDALLION are familiar with the notorious Seymour Finney and his barn. A tailor by trade, Seymour Finney was also one of Detroit’s strongest and most clever abolitionists. Active in the movement and the early Underground Railroad, he took action when the Fugitive Slave Act became law. He opened a tavern near what is now State and Griswold, then he opened a hotel with a large barn ostensibly to hold carriages and horses. Interestingly, his facility was called a temperance house. His barn was used to hide runaway slaves until they could be transported to Canada. He welcomed slave-catchers in his tavern to draw their attention away from the real facility. Read More 
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Detroit Leaders and Abolition:

Abolitionist meeting
Detroit Leaders and Abolition:
In 1850, Detroit was a relative hotbed of the Abolition Movement. Slavery, even in the early days had been rare. The Northwest Ordinance of 1787 made Michigan a slave-free territory, and it was admitted to the Union as a slave-free state in 1837. Of course as with everything, the populace was not in unanimous agreement. However, the leaders of Detroit were historically vehement abolitionists, especially the women. Interestingly, its French-Canadian citizens were frequently in agreement, they had rarely owned slaves in the past and tended to obstruct anything that was or had been popular with the English-Americans. As a result the movers and shakers of early Detroit and its poorer French-Canadian farmer citizens became strange bedfellows. Read More 
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The Blackburn Affair

The Blackburn Affair:
An early scene in Book Six is a famous piece of Detroit history from 1833, years before the Fugitive Slave Act. It seems a black couple, Thornton Blackburn and his wife, Ruthie had come to Detroit as runaway slaves a few years before. They had become members of the community and Thornton had a cart with which he did errands and odd jobs. Things were good until a southern sheriff arrived with a warrant for their arrest. You will need to read the book to get the wonderful details but suffice to say, the Blackburns make a daring escape to Canada aided by the abolitionists of Detroit. From there they went to Toronto where he formed the first taxi company in the Canadian city. I feel that with this event, a gauntlet was thrown down on the streets of Detroit where it would remain for years to come. Read More 
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